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Freshmen join Varsity squads, prove their skill

Posted By Josh Carney On December 6, 2010 @ 3:20 am In Sports | Comments Disabled

On the court, freshman Phil Levine-Caleb’s six-foot-three, 174-pound frame indicates much more than his 15-year-old age. Levine-Caleb is South’s most recent freshman success story, recording a game-high 15 points and eight rebounds against Wayland last week.
Levine-Caleb is not the only freshman to find success donning Varsity blue and orange; in fact, many young athletes have reaped rookie rewards on the fields, rinks, and courts.
Deciding which freshmen are ready to face the Dual County League’s best is a delicate art; the transition from middle school is difficult, and the learning curve is steep.
Exposing a young athlete to the Varsity ranks too soon could ruin his or her self esteem, thus his or her South athletic career; to do it too late could deprive a freshman of valuable Varsity experience, sending him or her quickly through the developmental phase and securing a program’s future.
“Freshmen on Varsity teams happens about one or two times a year, Athletic Director Scott Perrin said. “[A] freshman player is not going to get better if he or she doesn’t play in the right environment. The freshmen might be on the bench a lot of Varsity, but they might be projected starters for next season.
So far, Levine-Caleb has proven his worth and readiness to a Boys’ Varsity Basketball squad, adding much-needed height to a small but quick roster.
“Phil has size, which we are lacking this year, and he works hard, Basketball Captain Diijon Reed said. “Because he’s a freshman on Varsity he has a lot to learn, but this experience is going to better him in the long run.
For Head Basketball Coach Joe Killilea, an athlete’s age does not determine his or her playing time; skill is the key factor when deciding what freshmen are ready to join Varsity.
“Playing time is often decided by how well you are playing in practice’€then you get an opportunity to play in the game. What you do with that opportunity will then determine how much more playing time you will get, he said.
Killilea’s requirements for starters allow freshmen to qualify for positions against upperclassmen as long as they display necessary talent. Killilea also believes, however, that sitting on the bench is a waste of time for a developing player.
“A freshman will only make the team if he is going to get playing time on Varsity, so if he will not be getting a good amount of time he would start the year on the [Junior Varsity] or freshman team, he said.
Not all teams, however, are so quick to thrust their freshmen on the highest stage of high school athletics.
The Baseball program, for example, uses a “bubble system in which players reap the benefit of practicing with Varsity, but play with Junior Varsity, which often serves as the happy medium between the less developed freshman competition and the extremely developed Varsity.
These players do not count against the Varsity roster count, leaving space for unsuspecting talent such as Norris Spence and Taylor Briner, essentially walk-ons. One became a reliable pitcher all season, and the other started in right field and led off.
Junior John Jennings, a “bubble player his freshman year, started at first base last year and was second on the team in batting average and home runs.
Jennings used his time as a “bubble player to refine his skills by learning from the talented players. He is now an All-Star and a cornerstone of the program.
The Boys’ Soccer team incorporates a mix of Baseball’s and Basketball’s approach. Most freshmen that make the Varsity team are ready for the challenge and get a lot of playing time; however, some players can become “bubble players.
Andres Guerra, who recently moved from Mexico, was granted a starting position as one of the forwards.
“Andres is a really talented scorer and took advantage of opportunities in front of the net senior and forward Colby Medoff said. “He is a smart player and a natural forward.
The Girls’ Soccer team had an unusual case this year, as four freshman made the Varsity team.
Out of the freshman, Susie Frechter stood out, being a key part of the team’s defense.
“Susie really stepped it up in practice and made huge strides as the season progressed, senior and captain Hannah Nussbaum said. “She also showed impressive ball skills and is an intuitive player.
The Girl’s Soccer team allows

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URL to article: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/freshmen-join-varsity-squads-prove-their-skill/

URLs in this post:

[1] Newton Athletic Association offers alternative to Varsity Sports: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/12/23/newton-athletic-association-offers-alternative-to-varsity-sports/

[2] Crossing the field: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/crossing-the-field/

[3] Denebola Freshmen Fall Sports Showcase: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/09/30/denebola-freshmen-fall-sports%e2%80%99-showcase/

[4] Transition year will benefit 2010 season: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/11/25/transition-year-will-benefit-2010-season/

[5] Lacrosse cradles hope despite struggles: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/lacrosse-cradles-hope-despite-struggles-2/

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